What malls used to look like in Toronto
Since we've been taking an extended look at Toronto malls that could use something of an aesthetic update, it seems only natural that my latest dive into the archives explores what these places looked like when they were shiny and new. Inspired by both space age design and a love of the bucolic (think indoor gardens and fountains), few places are as evocative when it comes to nostalgia.
For the sake of context, I've added a few photos that pre-date the rise of mall culture in North America to show how much (and how quickly) things changed in the post-War period. These pre-1950s photos generally depict downtown department stores that, while big, are well integrated with their immediate surroundings in some capacity.
The obvious change that takes place when the true malls arrive is that they become vehicular destinations. One doesn't tend to walk by the mall on his or her way to somewhere else. Located on the outskirts of the city, these outlets are designed to service the growing suburban population who now travel almost exclusively by car to attend to their shopping needs.
The shift from what one might call the proto-malls of the 1940s and 1950s to those of the 1960s and beyond is the degree to which things move indoors. Rather than big plazas, shopping centres tend to become enclosed spaces where customers can presumably find everything under one roof.
Yonge Street Arcade
The Eaton's Complex
Cloverdale Mall men's shop
Unidentified Mall Etobicoke (suggestions?)
Fairview Mall postcard
Sherway Gardens grand opening (1972)
The Eaton Centre
The Eaton Centre
Don Mills Shopping Centre
Marked images from the Toronto Archives (series and fonds information at bottom).
Join the conversation Load comments